The period covered by the title of this catalogue, From the Heirs of Giotto to the Early Sixteenth Century, is one I particularly love and the specialization of my gallery. From 1999 to the pre- sent day, every two years, I have always tried to publish a catalogue that would reflect the effort and the commitment of the constant, and ever more difficult, quest for high-quality works of this period. Each year I have to say it is becoming ever more complicated, ever more arduous, to find important paintings on the art market. At times, for amusement, I like brow- sing through sale catalogues of the past, even those of just two decades ago, and remain struck by how great was the supply of works of art at that time in comparison with the present. Today the supply is diminishing and auction houses, instead of being a means of replenishing one’s stock, have become direct competitors that try to weaken bit by bit the noble role of the art dealer. But on one thing the serious and professional dealer will always win over his rival: individuality and especially trust and guarantee. The dealer will always be responsible for what he sells, whereas the auction house’s responsibility is limited: it ends after a few years.
Another phenomenon that has struck me in recent years is that of the crazy prices reached on the art market for works of modern and contemporary art. They have risen so astronomically as to make the old masters, with which I deal with such great love and ded- ication, seem things of truly little account. The art of the old masters is, in my view, the soundest investment in art, and yet today it is undervalued. Clearly when I speak of old mas- ters I mean old paintings of the highest quality and in excellent state of conservation. Fash- ion, the world of the star system, does not touch them: only culture, knowledge and passion are, and shall ever remain, the keys to unlock this niche market that is becoming increasingly rarefied and that cannot but rise in value in the course of time.
This new publication, like previous ones, wishes to be a genuinely academic work, specifically aimed at the world of connoisseurs and art historians, but also at all those who wish to come into contact with my gallery. Constant study, combined with painstaking and rigorous research, has once again enabled me to bring together a nucleus of paintings of high qualitative level and art-historical significance. Taddeo Gaddi, Lorenzo Monaco, Giovanni di Paolo, Botticelli and Giovan Girolamo Savoldo are names that have added greatness and lus- tre to our beautiful country, and for me to have here, in this catalogue, a small testimony of their achievements is truly the finest recompense that the fascinating world of art could offer.
This year, too, I have had the good fortune to be able to draw on the services of some of the greatest experts in this field, whom I wish to thank here: Elena Capretti, Andrea De Marchi, Francesco Frangi, Gaudenz Freuler, Nicoletta Pons, Angelo Tartuferi, Stefan Wep- pelman and together with them also those friends and colleagues who have in one way or another assisted me in my work: Luciano Bellosi, Daniele Benati, Miklós Boskovits, Keith Christiansen, Laurence Kanter, Everett Fahy, Carlo Falciani, Antonio Natali, Jonathan K. Nel- son, Anna Orlando and Luke Syson. To all of them my deep gratitude.
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